6 Tips To Improve Your Post-Run Recovery

Running is a great form of exercise to improve your overall health and wellbeing, and certainly has a very positive impact on your fitness levels when repeated over time, but it must be done with care, and that specifically includes how you look after your body after a run – giving it chance to recover properly and taking the correct action to avoid any injuries from occurring. 

With that being said, here are 6 useful tips that will help you manage this process and ultimately improve your post-run recovery. 

 

1. Prioritise hydration

Endurance activities like running require you to sweat, which helps regulate your body temperature with the natural byproduct of losing fluid. Weighing yourself before and after training can be an effective way of seeing how much fluid is lost and therefore how much you need to replace in the 2 hours post activity. Aiming for around 2 litres of fluid throughout the day and replacing what has been lost during activity is a good way to maintain fluid levels and prevent de-hydration. 

If your thirsty you are already 30% dehydrated, so try and have a drink, before, during and after your run.

 

2. Fuel your body with the right food 

Second to hydration, re-fueling is the most important thing to get right in your recovery. Eating the correct foods after a run can help to repair micro-tears in your muscles and help rejuvenate electrolytes.  

After a run your body is in a prime state to take in the nutrients you need to help with recovery. Eating foods high in sodium helps to increase fluid retention, which is beneficial after losing hydration through sweat. Carbohydrates is the fuel source of your run, and it’s important to replenish that once you’ve finished. Protein is important after a run to repair and rebuild your muscles – it’s important to note that you have a 60-minute window to get high quality protein in, in the form of Whey Protein or BCAA’s. They have been shown to have peak effectiveness in enhancing recovery and helping with muscle protein synthesis and reducing DOMS when taken within a 30–60-minute window after activity.  

 

3. Take time to stretch 

Stretching helps your mind and body to relax after a strenuous run. A huge benefit of stretching is that it reduces the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, which in turn can help with tired and achy muscles. When stretching, focus on your major muscle groups, or if you are feeling tightness in other areas of the body, focus on that too.   

 

4. Embrace an ice bath 

After exercise, your tissues are working really hard to recover, but local inflammation and engorgement of the tissues can cause secondary cell hypoxia, which can lead to damage. Ice baths help to reduce this unwanted extra inflammation and swelling, by bringing your core temperature down and constricting your blood vessels, which decreases metabolic activity. Ice baths also help with your body circulation because, when submerged in cold water, blood rushes through to your vital organs, which encourages your heart to work a bit harder in putting oxygen and nutrients into your body.   

 

5. Have a warm bath with Epsom salts 

Soaking in a bath of Epsom salts helps to remove toxins from your muscles and increases the magnesium levels in your blood. Your body uses magnesium to produce new tissue cells and muscles. Magnesium also helps your muscle functions, metabolism, and circulation. Another key benefit of Epsom salts is that they help to ease tension in your muscles and reduce stress, leading to you generally feeling much more relaxed after your run.  

 

6. Be sure to get good quality sleep 

Sleep gives your muscles time to recover and grow. A full nights sleep can aid the function of tissue repair, which in turn will assist your body’s overall recovery process. While you sleep, your body releases a growth hormone which helps your muscles to repair themselves. Good quality sleep is a smart investment for anybody to work towards – we can all benefit from better sleep. 

Preparation for your next run begins as soon as your last one has finished. Prioritising post-run recovery is an extremely valuable thing to do, in order to recover faster and avoid injury, meaning that you can continue achieving your goals and beating your personal best times. 

 

Preparation for your next run begins as soon as your last one has finished. Prioritising post-run recovery is an extremely valuable thing to do, in order to recover faster and avoid injury, meaning that you can continue achieving your goals and beating your personal best times.